Late summer gardens at Ightham Mote

Cosmos in the foreground with late summer sun on the cottages

Make the most of the garden at Ightham Mote as we move from summer into autumn. There’s plenty of colour still to be found as the flowers continue to bloom.

Stable courtyard is an abundance of colour in late summer
The border in stable courtyard has mounds of colour.

Rainbow hues

Summer may be drawing to a close, but when you look around you’ll still see splashes of colour.  The Japanese classic, Anenome x hybrida, with its cup shaped pink or white flowers, adds colour whether in sun or shade. The reddish-pink spikes of Persicaria amplexicaulis, dotted along the border, are a magnet for bees, as are Sedum 'Herbstfreude' and Sedum spectabile 'Brilliant' with their red / pink clumps of star-shaped flowers. Whilst the showy Helenium, with petals of orangey-red look like ballerinas tutus, dancing about saying ‘look at me’. As the final days of summer arrive, the lavender-blue flowers of Aster x frikartii 'Mönch' burst open, and you’ll hear the hum of the bees as they gather the last of the nectar.  

Apples ripening ready for apple and orchard weekend.
Apples on a tree in the orchard with the house in the background

Orchard fayre

The apples which have been ripening on the trees in the orchard are ready to shine. Our historic apple varieties include ‘Couer de Bouef’ (13th century), ‘Nonpareil’ (1696) and ‘Flower of Kent’ (1629), which is believed to be the variety of tree Isaac Newton sat under when he was inspired to produce his laws of universal gravitation.  

So whether you like the sweet dessert apples, a tarter cooking apple or the dryness of a cider apple, you’ll get to sample the different varieties as we celebrate their bounty at our annual apple and orchard weekend on Sat 30 Sept – Sun 1 October. 

The crimson of the Euonymus leaves create a brilliant display
Bright crimson leaves of the Euonymus, laden with orange berries

A treat for the senses

As summer departs, the lush green leaves of the Cercidiphyllum japonicum (Katsura) are replaced with orange yellow hues. But they don’t just provide us with a visual delight…for as the wind blows gently you may be able to catch the smell of burnt sugar and candy floss drifting through the air. It is this tantalising scent that gives us the trees other name ‘Toffee Apple Tree’.

The tulip tree turns an attractive golden yellow, whilst the beech leaves become a glorious browny-orange. If it's stronger colours you're after, look out for the three different Acers which turn yellow, orangey-yellow or burning red. Or the bright crimson branches of the Euonymus, with their mass or orange coloured berries.